How to microblog in high heels

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Archive for the ‘Webworld’ Category

Pinterest: Why the new social network is gaining so much interest

Pinterest

'Me boards'

Forget Linsanity, based on how my social media streams and blog readers have been clogged with mentions of Pinterest in the last week, I’m beginning to go a bit pinsane.

I’ve been interested Tumblr’s cooler younger sibling for a while – I signed up back when the branding wasn’t as retro and watched tentatively until US tech blogs began the murmur last Autumn. By the new year , it was all the US social media crowd could talk about and UK users were growing – then more and more mainstream media articles began to appear. I was asked to write a piece on Pinterest for the Guardian on Friday – but on researching the article I received such a wealth of response from self-confessed ‘Pin-addicts’ that I thought it would be good to publish some of these in full here – as some of the comments are incredibly insightful and, well, pinteresting.

Here’s the piece in full – and Cardiff-based photographer Pippa Bennett, who I quoted, has written this blogpost outlining in full how she got on Pinterest, her favourite things about it and the best boards to follow. Here’s an extract:

Its potential for creative professionals is definitely one of the most exciting things about it. All my other sites and networks have to be divided into personal and professional but you dont need that with Pinterest. I just have one account and it benefits my profile as a photographer without having to be aggressive in my promotional approach.

As a photographer I have created boards of my images on there. I tag them as accurately as possible and make sure my website link is on each pin. That then means that they can come up in other people’s streams and searches. It gets my photography recognised and seen without me having to shove it down anyone’s throat. Pinterest is especially perfect for me as I am a wedding photographer and wedding blogging and planning makes up a huge proportion of Pinterest usage.

I can also interact with my potential clients in a totally novel way. If they like what they see of my photos or they see other things I’ve pinned, they can go look at my other boards and see what, beyond my own photographs, I enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

February 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Seven ways to make money online

Cardiff’s women in tech were recently lured to the latest Cardiff geek girl dinner with a talk entitled ‘make money from your online content‘.

Approaching the topic with a huge dollop of scepticism that one man could in seven bullet points give the hidden secret causing so many online publishers constant fury, I actually came away pleasantly surprised.

Now I’m not promising seven steps to millionairedom – but Miles Galliford, co-founder of SubHub.com, gave seven bite-sized easily-digestible ideas which might help towards getting some petty cash to make a website not-for-loss. Read the rest of this entry »

Privacy and the audience: Who are you talking to?

As 2010 draws to a close, a topic has been dominating my thoughts on social media for a while now – privacy.

As one who could safely be tick-boxed in the ‘digital native’ bracket – changing online privacy settings when setting up new accounts is simply second nature.

But Facebook’s constant chopping and changing of their unnecessarily complicated privacy settings have not only been frustrating – but have thrown up a key question – should online privacy be the burden of the user or the platform?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hrwaldram

December 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

Cardiff bloggers meet-up, March 2010

Cardiff will host its first bloggers meet-up next month – a chance for newbie, budding and veteran bloggers to be introduced, share ideas and link up.

The event will be at 7pm on Thursday 11 March 2010 at Pica Pica, on Westgate Street in the city centre, and will include a short presentation by James Cuff, web man at Media Wales, on blogging tools and how to set one up.

The event is hosted by myself and Ed Walker – he’s currently the online communities editor at Media Wales and we both are a bit fanatic about blogging. Ed and I have seen similar events work well in our respective hometowns – Preston bloggers meet-up and Brum Bloggers Meet.

Events like these are great chances to pass on blogging skills and tips from our experience, and learn from everybody else. People are throwing up new and interesting ways of using social media and the web, so get-togethers are key to ensuring helping ideas develop and brainstorming solutions to blogging needs.

It’s also free and the lovely people at WEPR have sponsored a free first drink (wine, pint or soft drink) so there’s no real reason not to sign-up here.

PS – you don’t have to sign up to come along –  registration is only for your free bevvy!

Written by hrwaldram

February 17, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Webworld

The new model for journalism: Hyperlocal, collaboration and aggregation

We still haven’t found it – the perfect future business model to make journalism work online – but we are still looking and searching and a few blogs and conversations recently have raised some interesting ideas about how the future of journalism might look.

Earlier this week, Paul Carr posted on TechCrunch. He talked about how bloggers aren’t really taking over mainstream media – how UGC can help break news but traditional reporting would always be needed to flesh out a story, but bloggers also seem able to get information the tabloid press also doll out.

He said good investigative reporting would always be needed – the 50-strong crack team who perhaps constitute the phrase “good journalism” were essential to keep the industry alive. But, he said, you always needed people to write the smaller, press-release type stories to flesh out the paper and keep the less explosive news being published.

Carr then goes on to use the example of TechCrunch to see where the industry is going – a small team of niche reporters working hard to deliver top technology news for loyal readership. He writes:

Whatever the cynics might think, it’s a place where sources are built up, facts are checked, lawyers are employed and writers are encouraged to go out and get the real story behind the story.

Other sites popping up around the globe are catering for other niches – farming, music and politics. The new model is an online one – of collaboration with users and bloggers combined with your best editors to create the best news content and linking to other niches you can’t do so well (a method Jeff Jarvis championed a while back).

This leads me onto the next exciting development closer to home, in Birmingham, which is again leading the way in new ideas of doing good journalism online.

Help Me Investigate is a new website (only about three weeks old) which allows the locality to type a civic question into the website (“How many parking tickets are being issued per month on my road”) and a group of journalists as well as other users on the site work about getting the information back to that person – submitting Freedom of Information requests and collaborating on finding out the relevant legislation. It is time consuming and costly process – which in any newsroom would need a number of resources. But the Help Me Investigate team have managed already to find out some pretty ground breaking facts – like the story about parking ticket hotspots which was recently published (and rightfully attributed) in the local press by the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Mail.

Picture 2

This is the future of journalism. A collaborative effort with professional journalists, local people and local authorities coming together to make the community more transparent and an altogether better place. It is a source of news as well as a place people who are passionate about where they live to ask others for help with their shared local grievances. It is also the essence of a hyperlocal website.

Numerous ones have sprung up across Birmingham (and the UK) – building communities online which reflect the local area. Digbeth, Lichfield and Acocks Green are great examples.

But as Paul Bradshaw today on Radio 4’s Media Show – you cannot make much money form hyperlocal. I am quickly finding this out as I pour my efforts and limited webby skills into making a hyperlocal news website for Bournville – the area I live in in Birmingham.

Bournville has no local newspaper and little going for it on the web – and tons of advertisers who would love to have their services published to the local community. Seems like a sure fire hit? Well it takes time and energy to set up – and it’s only little old me working on it at the mo – albeit with a web of friendly and supportive bloggers in Birmingham and plenty of other hyperlocal experts to take advice from.

But hyperlocal, collaborative and aggregation seem to me to be key terms in the future of local journalism online. And I’m excited my home town Birmingham is pioneering such innovative and exceptional work.

Written by hrwaldram

August 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

The rise of the Female Web

As featured on Shane Richmond’s blog for Telegraph technology.

I once heard a joke that men are like computers…in order to get their attention you have to turn them on.

While this is crass and fairly nonsensical, it touches on the commonly held position since the dawn of the technological era that women, if anything, are not like computers.

The cultural stereotypes surrounding technology generally stem from the early stages of the internet in which going online was a fairly drawn-out, isolated business. Which is why it attracted the teenage boys and young adult men.

But since the second phase of the internet meant easy access and online sharing, a rising new tech-savvy breed of women are putting their claim on the web. The Female Web is a new concept which proposes that behaviour and current activities on the internet suggest it is becoming more womanised and female centric. Miriam Rayman, in her article for Viewpoint magazine’s Eve-olution issue, says one day the internet will be female-dominated and female-friendly – and it is women pioneering this shift.

Before hoards of you start screaming the ‘f’ word, and brandishing your anti-feminist teeth, let me explain the idea a little further.

Female bloggers are growing in number, and according to Jupiter reaserch new web users are predominantly female, so it is worth looking into whether Web 2.0 really does appeal more to the complex inner workings of the female brain as opposed to its male counterparts, or whether this is just a load of hormone-filled hysteria.

Futurist Marian Salzman says:

“The web – at least the one we have now come to understand and depend on – works best when it is collaborative, connected, instant, open-ended, and social in its activities and functionality – attributes we normally associate with women.”

It is clear social networking taps into something of the female psyche – with sites such as Netmums, CafeMom, iVillage and wowOwow seeing a significant boom. Rayman says women enjoy the positive and empowering vibes they get from such sites, as social places where they can come to share and encourage – which is part of their gender make-up.

“Building a community within a group is a basic instinct of female survival that continues to influence the way females behave,” says Jane Cunningham and Philippa Roberts say in their book Inside Her Pretty Little Head.

“The Internet is just another way to be social, informed, and connected,” says Cullingham. “It’s conversational, newsy, and allows you to form instant intimacy with people. These are things that women are incredibly good at.”

This is truly Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stuff. Based on the idea that women are natural talkers, bonders and enjoy convening in large clucking flocks to share stories and advice, and the web being one big community, Rayman suggests technology is developing towards being more female in nature, and women are drawn to the web in one great inter-menstrual cycle culminating in a World Wide Women’s Web.

The web is about communities, women thrive in communities, so – the argument goes – women love the web.

But aren’t we forgetting someone? What about the men who enjoy conversations online, meeting like-minded people and expressing opinions? Aren’t tons of bloggers male? Rayman retorts that women’s blogs don’t climb high up Technorati’s charts because their blogging style means they don’t reach the radar:

“It’s about relationship-building and story-telling, and helping one’s community. Men, on the other hand, have typically gone for link-heavy, signpost-rich posts.”

Influential women blogs such as Gawker Media’s Jezebel and Shiny Media’s DollyMix, along with Adriana Huffington, and Elizabeth Spiers prove the blogsphere has some key women leading the way. But should we conclude that the web has gone completely girly and agree with Rayman that the future lies in companies gearing their online marketing techniques towards a the minds of women?

Though Rayman’s study draws out some interesting observations of the way web 2.0 bares similarities to stock, almost stereotypical, characteristics of women, there is no need just yet to start dismissing the equal number of male surfers online. Indeed, some may argue the web is infact male-centric and geared ideally for arguing and pornography. Clearly there will be areas and activities on the web women are drawn to, but this is also true for attributes of men. And though stereotypes surrounding technology should be challenged, women shouldn’t stamp their claim on the web just yet.

Written by hrwaldram

April 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm

TimesPeople: the social network for the New York Times.

[Warning: This post was written in 2009 and information may not be kept up to date.]

TimesPeople says it is not a social network for Times readers, but that is exactly what it is. It is built on the merits of Twitter – allowing you to ‘follow’ and be ‘followed’ by other TimesPeople – while incorporating some parts of Facebook. Sounds neat, but just how good is TimesPeople and what does it offer?

You sign up, and TimesPeople updates your feed whenever you do something on NYTimes.com – so it logs comments on articles, articles you’ve rated (or recommended) and comments on blogposts. But you have the option of turning your ‘sharing’ off – so you just follow people but they cannot see what you are doing.

Once you have added lots of users – their activities come up in a news feed (like Facebook). You can also see when people you are following are being followed by and following others, like Twitter.

This pops up at the top of nytimes.com when you do something new…

Latest Activity

The Latest – a feed of what TimesPeople (including ones you are not following) are doing and looks a bit like this:

The Latest. Happening right now on TimesPeople

Carol Bateman recommended an article: How to Raise Our I.Q. 5:26 am
Globaltechbroker commented on an article: Afghan Women Protest New Law on Hom… 5:25 am
gattopardo recommended an article: Yankees Win Game, but Lose Nady 5:22 am
eddie recommended a comment: Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers 5:21 am
Manon Sheiman recommended a comment: Dinosaur at the Gate 5:15 am
Ember recommended an article: Big Profits, Big Questions 5:15 am

TimesPeople looks like a great advancement on creating smaller social networks which have the newspaper as their base and articles as their common point of interest.

You can also add TimesPeople to your Facebook account –  one of the best functions of the service as it into the sphere of the big social networking sites which can all be collaborated with Facebook – and means article you like can be shared with all your non-Timesey friends.

When viewing TimesPeople comments, there is a drop-down box allowing you to see the ‘editor’s selections,’ ‘readers recommendations’ and oldest and newest comments. This is a great feature for sieving out comments you don’t want to read.

If you comment on an article it awaits moderation before being published – but it looks as if it has been published already – which gives you some level of satisfaction.

You can see other people’s news feeds which is quite cool – as everyone, with different followers, has a completely unique news feed. Although you’ll soon realise due to the small nature of the network, everyone is following the smae people so there is little variation.

Fall-backs

When you post a comment you cannot post it as your TimesPeople ID – you have to enter a name which is attached to the end of the comment. This means when other users read your comment they cannot click on your name and add you as a person to follow – this would make perfect sense because if you could see someone writing comments you enjoy you should be able to follow them, as they are probably also a Timesperson.

There is no ‘bio’ so you cannot find out anything about a person you may want to follow apart from their name, pic and location. You would have to Google them – which is annoying.

Your news feed of friends activities is pretty much just ‘— recommended an article…’ followed by an extract from the article. The extract makes it look like they have commented on an article. The recommend button is on every article. So after a while you begin to feel like the whole service is just people recommending articles – so it feels pretty limited. Although on the spec nytimes.com says they are thinking of adding a “notes” feature to go with recommendations. So you could recommend an article, and add a note (which would not go under the article liek a comment but stick to your activity page). If they gave you more things to do on the website, there would be more ‘activity’ – which probably would make it worthwhile joining up.

The community is quite small – I followed someone doing the most activity and added all his followers and soon realised that I am following just about everyone using TimesPeople.

In general, the network works pretty well and adds the element most users want when reading articles on news websites – to be able to share articles they like.

Written by hrwaldram

April 17, 2009 at 11:05 am